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Fred Crowder compares the $1,600 Aural Symphonics Chrono b2 balanced interconnects to other heavyweights
Reviewer: Fred Crowder
The Aural Symphonics Chrono b2 is more a study in contrasts than most cables. Chrono b2 refers to balanced version 2. Visually, it is a large diameter cable covered in an outer jacket that appears black with a diamond pattern etched in white thread, rather unexceptional, but functional. At night, in a darkened room, it undergoes a rather remarkable visual transformation as what appears to be black in normal light is revealed instead as a highly reflective skin that becomes bright white. Likewise, judging solely by its appearance, you would expect this cable to be heavy and relatively stiff. In reality, it is quite light, reasonably flexible and easy to use. Not surprisingly, there was also a marked contrast between the sound in early listening sessions before the cable was thoroughly broken in and that in later sessions, but more on that later. First, a brief description of its construction.
Chrono b2 is the current top-of-the-line interconnect at Aural Symphonics. All conductors and connectors are immersed for 72 hours in a deep nitrogen bath at minus 310 degrees Fahrenheit during manufacturing process. The positive conductor is configured as multiple un-insulated solid core wires. The negative is a smaller conductor. Although there is no outer shield, the Chrono b2 has an extremely low noise floor with sounds emerging from what is essentially an intensely black background. Doing away with the outer shield apparently eliminates the need to use any additional resistive load on the ground. Although the manufacturer does not specify the dielectric (other than air), the literature does mention that no crushed polypropylene filler is used in its construction. All Chrono b2 are hand assembled and made to order using a 4% silver solder. Neutrix connectors are used on the balanced interconnects.
The Chrono b2 was inserted into three different systems: Acapella Triolon Excalibur/Audio Note Kegon Balanced amps/Esoteric X01-D2, Avalon Isis/ Edge Reference amps/Esoteric P03/D03, and Acoustat full-range electrostats/FM Acoustics amps/EMM Labs. In each instance, the Chrono b2 was initially introduced between the CD player (EMM Labs/Esoteric) and the preamplifier and in each case compared against known references, primarily Nordost Valhalla, William E. Low Signature (Audioquest), and Jorma Prime. Each of the comparison cables was significantly more expensive than the Chrono, ranging from $10,500 to $4330. While a number of reference CD’s were used, the ones most frequently in play were the FIM Reference Recordings Vol. 4, the Mobile Fidelity SACD of Patricia Barber’s Companion and Ry Cooder’s Mambo Sinuendo (Nonesuch).
|Chrono b2 Balanced Premium XLR interconnect (per pair) $1600/1m, $1975/1.5m, $2350/2m, $3100/3m, $4600/5m, $8350/10m|
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